Marriott International’s David Rodriguez Named 2019 HR Executive of the Year

HR Leaders at Danaher, Truman Medical Centers and Upwork Named to HR Honor Roll

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla., Sept. 26, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Human Resource Executive®, the leading HR business magazine, has named David Rodriguez, executive vice president and global chief human resources officer at Marriott International, its 2019 HR Executive of the Year.

In addition, the magazine named three leaders to its 2019 HR Honor Roll: Zoë Harte, senior vice president of human resources and talent innovation at Upwork; Angela Lalor, senior vice president of human resources at Danaher Corp.; and Ruth Pullins, chief human resources officer at Truman Medical Centers.

The HR Executive of the Year award recognizes human resource leaders who have made outstanding contributions to their organizations and who epitomize the increasingly strategic role of HR in business today. Winners will be honored on October 17 during an awards dinner in the Trustee Ballroom at Boston University.

“This year’s winners truly exemplify the best that HR brings to the C-suite: innovation, creativity, business strategy, compassion and collaboration,” said Timothy D. Burke, senior vice president at LRP Media Group and publisher of its HR products, including Human Resource Executive®. “And David Rodriguez stands out for his sincere dedication to the wellbeing of all Marriott employees.”

Since taking the HR helm of Marriott International in 2006, Rodriguez has fused a people-centric mindset with a deep business acumen to bring HR success to the world’s largest hospitality company. Among his accomplishments, Rodriguez played a key role in successfully integrating Starwood Hotels & Resorts after the company’s 2016 acquisition and growing the number of people to more than 730,000 who wear a Marriott name badge every day.

From an award-winning employee wellbeing program to innovative partnerships in leadership development to industry-leading efforts to prevent human trafficking, Rodriguez credits success to a steadfast commitment to inclusive and inspiring employee experiences.  

The three executives named to the 2019 HR Honor Roll were recognized for the following contributions and achievements:

Harte, formerly a senior HR leader at Yahoo!, has driven high employee engagement and significantly lengthened employee tenure, no small feat for a company built on freelancers. She successfully led a distributed workforce through a challenging transition that included a rebranding and an IPO by creating a culture focused on trust, diversity and belonging, breaking down silos and regularly working to ensure employees are learning, engaged and motivated.

Danaher’s Lalor focused her efforts on building on the company’s strengths while expanding HR’s strategic business focus and improving employee engagement. Since joining the global science and technology innovations company seven years ago, she and her team built tools to improve the science behind engagement and driven improvement around diversity, both internally and externally. She collaborated with the leadership team and the HR operation throughout, also developing the leadership pipeline and creating an environment for innovation.

Pullins of Truman Medical Centers introduced creative employee benefits to engage with employees and fight high turnover rates, particularly among nurses in the competitive health care region of Kansas City. With such programs as paid sabbaticals for senior leaders and weekly HR rounds, Pullins brought innovation to the organization and redefined HR for the CEO. Other efforts included hiring a diversity and inclusion officer and developing a related strategy that resulted in national recognition and forging a coaching culture that increased employee promotions.

Judges for this year's contest were Richard Antoine, president of AOConsulting, past president of the National Academy of Human Resources and former global human resource officer of Procter & Gamble Co.; Fred Foulkes, director of the Human Resource Policy Institute and professor at Boston University's Questrom School of Business; Tracy Keogh, chief human resources officer at HP Inc.; Lisa Buckingham, executive vice president, chief people, place and brand officer at Lincoln Financial; and David Shadovitz, editor emeritus of Human Resource Executive®.

The judges based their selections on the following criteria: the candidate's ability to handle significant problems or obstacles in the human resource field; the candidate's role and/or success in establishing the human resource function as an integral part of his or her organization; the candidate's management skills as demonstrated within the human resource function; and his or her contributions to the HR profession as a whole.

Honor Roll candidates come from two categories: employers with fewer than 7,500 employees and employers with 7,500 or more employees. This year, two executives were selected in the under 7,500-employee category, Harte and Pullins, and one, Lalor, was chosen in the 7,500-or-more-employee category.

The 2019 HR Executive of the Year and HR Honor Roll winners are profiled in the October issue of Human Resource Executive®, which can be found online at In print, the publication has a circulation of more than 75,000 HR vice presidents and directors. Published by LRP Media Group, the magazine is based in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

About Human Resource Executive®
Human Resource Executive
® was established in 1987 and continues today as the premier publication and website focused on strategic issues in HR. Written primarily for vice presidents and directors of human resources, HRE provides these key decision-makers with news, profiles of HR visionaries and success stories of HR innovators. Stories cover all areas of human resource management, including talent management, benefits, healthcare training and development, HR information systems, technology, retirement planning and employment law. For more information, visit

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